Sport Retired queen of the track Victoria “Sponge” Pendleton

If anyone can complete a 127-mile cycle race through the Pyrenees called the “Bone Breaker”, having done no exercise for years, surely it would be a doctor. They might not have quite the depth of medical knowledge that Lance Armstrong possesses, but surely they can merrily prescribe themselves an assortment of finest pharamceuticals to get themselves over the hump.

Hedgerow garlic and Asian mushroom brik

Hedgerow garlic and Asian mushroom brik

Serves 4

If food prices had risen like house prices the weekly shop would cost £453

The average UK house price in 1971 was £5,632...

Editorial: A chance that Iran should seize

It is good news that Tehran has agreed to resume talks with the major world powers on its nuclear programme later this month. Dialogue between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany broke down in Moscow last June in an atmosphere of frustration and anger. Now, with the second Obama administration in place, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, has said he hopes for progress when the talks convene in Kazakhstan.

The mysteries of Richard III are far from solved, says literary expert

Today's confirmation that remains found beneath a car park in Leicester are those of the last Plantagenet king of England will not strip the mystery from one of William Shakespeare's greatest plays, a literary expert has predicted.

GrEAT British, 14 North Audley Street, London W1

British food 'barbarous'? Clearly, Orwell never got to eat at this Mayfair café

Jamie Roberts: Why Bruce Springsteen, self-belief and porridge are on menu for me today

Millennium Eye: We have to play on the front foot to right the wrongs of the autumn

‘Pasta Artigiana’ by Nino Zoccali

What’s for supper? Gnocchi with oxtail

This recipe comes from a dear friend and colleague, Ino Kuvacic. It is his grandmother’s recipe from Croatia and the gnocchi are stunningly light and soft in texture.

Family favourite: Coconut and apricot slice

Coconut and apricot slice

Makes 14

Mark liked cuttlefish croquetas so much that he put it on the menu at Fish House

Cuttlefish croquetas

Makes about 20

Banana custard croquettes with dark chocolate sauce
Chicken and egg croquettes can be served as a brunch or lunch dish or even as a tea-time meal with the kids

Chicken and egg croquettes

Serves 4

Stilton croquettes with walnut and celery mayonnaise

Stilton croquettes with walnut and celery mayonnaise

Makes about 20-25

Pear Beignets

What’s for supper? Pear beignets by Maria Elia

Ingredients to serve 4-6

The great French stench: 'Sulphur with sooty notes, like boiled egg, singed with a blow torch'

As a cloud of foul-smelling gas wafts over from France, Tom Peck visits Redhill, south London to sniff out the local reaction to its latest unwelcome visitor

Plenty of flavour: Wild duck ramen

Wild duck ramen

Serves 4

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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all